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Easy Peasy Minestrone

My dear husband casually strolled into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator and declared, “Why, it looks like a brand new refrigerator, absolutely empty!”

Oops, you see, since I’ve been blogging, I have not gone grocery shopping, exercising, or any of the things that require me to move out of my chair and away from the computer. That is not a ‘good thing.’ My husband has been existing on Cheerios and peanut butter sandwiches for dinner, without a complaint.

I thought, don’t push it. Its time to start cooking. What would he enjoy? Ah, a nice hearty, filling, satisfying bowl of soup would do the trick. Wanting to save my marriage of 52 years (you never can tell when it might go belly up, right?) I pulled myself away from the computer and went shopping.  My goal: fill the refrigerator, the soup pot, and my husband’s stomach.

Housewife cooking

I call this soup Easy Peasy Minestrone. It’s adapted from Viana La Place & Evan Kleiman’s recipe for Minestrone Leggera from Cucina Rustica my niece Angela’s vegetable soup, and creative additions from my life of cooking.

 I like to add bits of Italy, such as a wedge of cheese. It actually should be the rind from a hunk of parmesan, but I didn’t have a rind saved in the freezer. But, I did have a hunk of Parmesan Romano cheese in the fridge. Yes, it is from Costco. I also add a jar of my favorite bottled pasta sauce, Silver Palate’s Vodka Elegante Sauce.  I know, I know it’s heretical, but I use it  and it’s delicious. Remember the name of this soup, Easy Peasy. So here we go.

Gather the ingredients together.

Easy Peasy Minestrone Vegetables
I love my large red Le Creuset Pot that I purchased on Ebay. Yes, Ebay, is another one of my obsessions.

Large red soup Pot

Then I add about a quarter cup of olive oil, but you can add more or less to your taste. Next add two carrots trimmed and diced, two stalks of celery diced and five cloves of garlic peeled and minced. Add them all into the pot and let them cook using a medium temperature until wilted.

Carrots and oions chopped

Five cloves of garlic

onions and carrots in the big red soup pot
When softened  add chopped parsley, thyme or basil, and tomatoes.

Adding parsley to the Easy Peasy Minsetrone

Canned tomatoes into the soup pot for the Easy Peasy Minestone

You can add two zucchini, or a half a head of cauliflower, whichever you prefer, or whatever is in your fridge. I always add half a cabbage.

adding cabbage

Now you can either add a couple of quarts of water to keep it vegetarian, or do what I do which is to add two Swanson 32 oz. packages of chicken broth, plus about a half a jar of Silver Palate Vodka Elegante Sauce. Plus I add a 14 oz. can of White Beans and three red rose potatoes sliced. Then add the rind or chunk of Parmesan Romano cheese and  4 ounces of a small pasta. I prefer the shape of Ditali pasta. But you can break up spaghetti, or use any small pasta that you prefer.

Wedge of Parmesen Romano for the Easy Peasy Minestrone

measuring Ditali pasta and potato

Simmer all the ingredients together until the vegetables are cooked, approximately 45 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

 And Voila!

Remember I mentioned my mother’s cooking spoon? Well, there it is along with the finished pot of soup. Serving? After poring the soup into a bowl, I lightly dust the top with a grating of parmesan romano cheese, using my microplane grater. Oh, and sometimes I add a few of Trader Joe’s Frozen Turkey Meatballs to the soup. Sliced or quartered, they make the soup even heartier. Man fare.

Since this is a huge pot of soup, when it cools, I pour it into individual  containers and freeze them for a rainy day. That could be the  next day if I don’t have food in the house.

Now I’m going to show you something none of the beautiful food blogs show you: the aftermath cooking mess!

The Mess after cooking the Easy Peasy Minestrone

The ingredients:

  • 2 onions chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • A large handful of chopped parsley
  • 10 basil leaves chopped or 10 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed from the branches.
  • 6-8 roma tomatoes or a can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 zucchini diced
  • 1/2 head of cabbage or cauliflower
  • 2 red rose potatoes sliced
  • 1 14-oz can of white beans in their  liquid
  • 2 quarts of water or 2 32-ounce boxes of chicken broth
  • 1/2 jar of Silver Palate Vodka Elegante sauce or what ever pasta sauce you have in the pantry
  • 4 ounces of pasta: I prefer ditatli but you can use whatever you prefer.
  • a rind of Parmesan Romano cheese

Thanksgiving Wishes

All images appearing on Easy Peasy Minestrone are the expressed property of Sandra Sallin. All rights reserved. In other words, don’t steal it!



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  • Carla Fischer - your first lines about your husband finding a ‘new’ refrigerator kept me giggling not once but 3 times…funny lady! your kitchen looks clean compared to mine after cooking…we’re talking war zone! your 52 year marriage recipe full of humor is a winner…ReplyCancel

    • sandra - The funniest part is that it’s true. Empty fridge. But now my freezer is filled with soup so I’m saved.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - It looks yummy! I would like to try this recipe.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks, it’s really easy and it is so nice to have something to grab and defrost that is healthy.ReplyCancel

  • Swartz Mary - If anyone could convince me to try to make minestrone, it is you! Beautiful photos of each step help. And seeing what your kitchen counter looked like makes me feel much better. :) Thank you – I will try it tonight!!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - You will feel so healthy and virtuous. I love the sinful topping of the grated Parmesan and Romano cheese. Then just freeze the extra soup for a snowy day.ReplyCancel

  • Mariane - Well !! I say!!! – I could use this and make minestrone myself – but what I am interested of how did your husband react now after filling the fridge?? – Did he find out he got a new wife as well? :) I would love to write a novel together with you – because of your marvellous humour .. Thanks for sharing Sandra!!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you for finding my site? How did you find me? It’s wonderful to have a freezer filled with Easy Peasy Minestrone. I can now actually eat a healthy dinner. Last night I combined the Minestrone with some Turkey Chilli I had made on the same day. My husband is now content. I think I’ll make a batch of Pea soup to round it out and completely confuse him with choices.

      What a complment, wanting to write a book with me. I think I need to get more words under my keyboard until I’m up to that.ReplyCancel

      • sandra - I’ve gone to your site and left a kind of detailed message to you. Happy to help in anyway, with the proviso that I’m a newbie also finding her way.ReplyCancel

  • sandra - It’s perfect for making a large batch and freezing it in serving sizes. You can even slice some of your turkey meatloaf and add it to the soup for more stick to the ribness.ReplyCancel

  • Randy Hyde - Sounds delicious and can’t wait to try it! But you know that aftermath photo will never happen in my kitchen…ReplyCancel

    • sandra - For me that was immaculate. (G)ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Randy, You are the cook I look up to when it comes to immaculate and delicious cooking.ReplyCancel

  • Philippa - I love you for posting the after shot.

    Thank you. :-)ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Hi there Phillippa, Enjoy the zucchini and I wish you sunshine.ReplyCancel

  • Connie McLeod - Looks and sounds wonderful. My favorite part was that you showed the aftermath!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - I tell the real story about cooking. It’s the dirty little secret. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Carpool Goddess - Looks delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl - This looks delicious! Great for cooler weather we are having now.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - You’re right Cheryl this is the perfect time of year to make this and squirrel away in the freezer.ReplyCancel

  • Darlene Sneden - I love that you showed “the aftermath” of your soup prep. And BTW, I’m gonna make that soup; it looks delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Joy Weese Moll - That sounds like a yummy soup. Love the aftermath photo. That’s how my kitchen looks after making veggie pasta which is very similar to your soup but without the water/chicken broth.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Glad you’re not a neat freak either. I admire people who can cook and not make a mess. Sure you can make that soup with all sorts of variations.ReplyCancel

  • Princess Rosebud - Love my Crueset pot too, mine’s orange.Great recipe, pics make me hungry!ReplyCancel

  • Helene Cohen Bludman - This looks delicious. And now that the weather is cooler, I am very much in soup mode. I can’t wait to try this.ReplyCancel

  • grownandflown - Sandra, I am inspired by you – the easy part and the fact that you photographed everything so beautifully, including the aftermath, is fabulous. thanks!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - So glad you enjoyed. I’m always amazed at what a total mess my kitchen is after cooking. Glad you liked my photographs. I’m still learning.ReplyCancel

  • Karen D. Austin - I love looking at vegetables (a bit more than I like eating them). Your pics are divine. I should actually make this soup and not just lust after these veggies. I need more of an offline life, too. Thanks for the nudge. ReplyCancel

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